Paul Doherty has delighted us once more—this time with the 17th Hugh Corbett mystery episode,”The Mysterium.” And he does not disappoint us. As the New York Times notes, Doherty has “ressurectionist magic”!
It is 1304 in the “dead” of winter and a series of murders has caught the direct attention of King Edward I and from the beginning we find ourselves caught up in political (and royal) intrigue. The king does not hesitate to call in his chief investigator, Sir Hugh Corbett, his discreet, honest, trustworthy friend and royal servant.
“Over twenty years ago, a murderer prowled London, a professional assassin who carried out crimes on behalf of the rich and powerful . The Mysterium would remove undesirables, individuals the Great Ones wanted dead: a business rival, or a wife who’d served her purpose,” Sir Hugh tells his trusty clerk Ranulf. “He didn’t just kill silently, he left his own message.” Indeed, his victims were left with a “M” scratched on his forehead. “The Mysterium was arrogant, baiting judges, sheriffs, even the Crown itself,” Sir Hugh adds.
Of course, just because the King has commissioned Corbett not only to investigate, but find this Mysterium we know that the succession of murders will continue. And, over the remainder of these 372 page, the plotting, the brilliant mind-work, the plodding footwork all pay off and, needless to say, it is no surprise that Corbett’s investigation lead us to the inevitable, to the murderer. Doherty is no stranger to leading the reader along, with twists and turns that are both intriguing and interesting. What a prolific writer he is, as, over the years he has created at least seven historical fiction series, as well as a number of stand alone books. Doherty does leave us with a lingering thought, though, and his fans will be eagerly looking forward to an 18th installment!